My dog won't walk with me any more - afraid of loud noises

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My dog won't walk with me any more - afraid of loud noises

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Old 06-24-2016, 09:48 PM
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My dog won't walk with me any more - afraid of loud noises

Hello everyone: I'm new to this group. Looking forward to 'meeting' many members. My husband and I have a rescue dog named Chelsea. We picked her up from a Pound when she was almost 4 years old. At the start she was only a little afraid of louder noises, but that steadily grew worse over time. We talked to our vet and tried a few things, ie drops on a piece of cloth to calm her, but didn't work at all. She can't have treats as she has a stomach issue and is on a strict vet diet (Z/D). Despite her fears I always somehow managed to walk her, even though she at times threw herself down on the ground and I managed to get her up again or started running and she'd come. We sometimes walked for around 2 hours, lots of time off-leash, playing ball and she loves to swim. My husband had always less problems; she seemed more confident with him, though he does have some trouble with her as well, but seems to manage. She's terribly afraid of nail guns, the bell of our local ice-cream van, hammering, doors slamming, almost any loud noise really, but loud traffic doesn't bother her, even noisy motor bikes. To cut a long story short, Chelsea hardly walks with me at all any more. These days we manage 20 minutes, 10 down the road and then back. She stops at certain points and then turns round. I've given up now as I don't want to pull her. Often she jumps up on me when she doesn't want to go any further. When my husband leaves the house she pulls him straight across the lawn towards the park and when I leave the house she sits down almost immediately and I have to pull her down the driveway a bit. I must add that Chelsea and I have come across a lot of loud noises when we've walked in the past and she remembers that and where they came from. My husband has been a bit luckier in that way. Chelsea is a Kelpie/Border Collie X and will be 11 at the end of July, but is still as active as ever. Sorry this post is so long, just needed to explain properly. Am heart-broken, we used to have quite good, enjoyable and long walks. Hope someone in this group can help! Many thanks!!!
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Old 06-27-2016, 10:28 AM
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I would personally advise against using corrections as it won't help her be any less afraid; in fact, it is more likely to compound the fear.

My vet suggested an Adaptil collar for my boy, as well as a thundershirt and lavender oil. It may be a good place to start.

Additionally, you could speak with your vet about the possibility of anti-anxiety medications.

As far as behavioral modification, I'd take it really slowly. Try feeding her treats whenever a loud noise goes off. Also try quick walks - out the door and down the sidewalk, then back home again immediately with lots of treats along the way on your "walk".
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Old 06-27-2016, 11:08 AM
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I agree with PoppyKenna that corrections for showing fear is counterproductive and may be harmful.
I'd talk to your vet and see of some kind of treat might be permissible. Hot dogs are very persuasive.
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Old 06-27-2016, 11:12 AM
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Is her food kibble or wet? If it is kibble, can you hold a small amount back for use in rewarding?

Treat substitutes shouldn't be an issue since you said she loves play and swimming, you can use anything she likes as a reward. I take a tug toy and ball with me whenever we go out because my pup reaches her treat threshold far quicker than her play threshold.

Given your situation I'd get a vet and positive based trainer or behaviorist involved, herding breeds are known for a predisposition towards sound reactivity.

Other resources:

Check out the training and behavior stickies here.
A great blog about reactive dogs, great videos
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Old 06-27-2016, 03:29 PM
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